tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC July 30, 2009 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT
advocates who haven't really had much good news over the last couple weeks. also tomorrow, president obama is going to huddle with his cabinet secretaries for a retreat to assess the first six months of the obama administration. and then finally what you have been talking about, that beer that president obama will be having with sergeant crowley and harvard professor henry louis gates, jr. in about an hour. >> and, mark, we've got some live pictures of folks walking in. looking to see, we're hearing that sergeant crowley could be there soon. you see the black cars there and everyone is making their way. the president and donny pointed that out a little earlier in the president's comments he said, i guess he was fascinated by the fact that obviously this would be the lead over his meeting with the president of the philippines. not sure if the president really meant that literally or was just kind of working the media, but this is a big event that they want to handle and sounds like they want to tidy this thing up and go away. >> right, and there is actually something they don't want to
cross. obviously, there is a lot of media attention that we're giving it and everyone else is giving it, but i also don't think that a lot of americans out there want all this focus where it seems like the obama administration and the white house just sees this as a pr stunt to kind of be able to move along the story. you know, they really want this to be about president obama seeing this as a teachable moment, bringing these two people together and trying to turn lemmoons into lemonade her. this story has gone on for eight days. we'll see if this finally brings an end to it all. >> thank you very much. make shusure to check out first read first thing every morning. check back often. you can logon to firstread.msnbc.com. we have those live pictures watching to see what happens here, but donny, real quick, your thoughts, do these two men have to come out and say we squashed this, it's done? >> i think they will say this is an ongoing discussion.
there's nothing to be solved tho other than we know there's a problems. >> up next, "hardball," chris matthews, starts right now. beer party. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, this bud's for you. an hour for now the commander in chief hosts the first and quite possibly last ever beer summit. president obama will be sitting at the back lawn picnic table alongside harvard professor henry louis gates and the cambridge massachusetts police sergeant who arrested him, james crowley. everyone has something to say it seems about how the two men conducted themselves in this situation. everyone has a different view based upon their own rear view mirrors and what they've been through in life. we'll be joined by eugene robinson and columnist steven a.
smith. why are some republicans and other opponents of health care reform now insisting that president obama wants to send government workers to the homes of the elderly to ask how they want to die? it's because of a provision in one of the health care bills congress is considering. we're going to talk to the spob ser of that bill. but first with a radio talk show host who doesn't like it one bit. plus, what happened to the all-purpose can't miss obama message machine that vanquished hillary clinton and john mccain? suddenly the president seems hard to figure, especially in this health care debate. what's he saying and why can't we hear it and why did he get to be such a buddinski in this fight between the professor and the cop? and which of the political couples i just mentioned would you most like to spend your vacation with? the obamas, the clintons, the mccains, or the palins? we got some information from a focus group and what other people are saying on that topic in the "hardball" side show.
but we start with today's white house beer summit coming up. president obama, har vards professor henry louis gates, and sergeant james crowley. eugene robinson pulitzer prize winning columnist for "the washington post" and an msnbc political analyst and steven a. smith who is a journalist and commentator and there he is. gene, you first, what are we going to get out of this? they're apparently going to be sitting at a park bench. you know, they ought to be playing chess maybe in this situation. there are going to be three relatively total strangers, although skip and the president are buddies, i guess. the odd man out will be the sergeant who doesn't really know either of them, right? what's the formatting going to accomplish here? >> what we're going to get is a stilted photograph, some footage. it will be kind of a photo-op, and that's what we'll get out of it. i suspect they'll get a little bit more out of it. they'll get beer out of it. you know, i haven't been offered
a beer yet. >> but you know, gene, that none of these three guys is stupid enough to get lit. >> no, of course not. of course not. >> they're going to be very careful not to go past, what, 1.5 beers? >> if that. i don't think they're going to work through america's 400-year travails with race over 1.5 beers. they're not going to do it, but it's a way of the president -- >> so you're snapping this up as basically a picture for the papers tomorrow. >> it's a picture for the papers. it's a gesture. it's a gesture. i don't think it's an entirely -- >> i am using a massachusetts accent because these guys are up there having something of a beer party as they say up there. they're not going to get faced as they used to say in the old days. maybe a beer, half a beer each of them. what do you make of its potential. >> let me translate it for you and with all due respect let's call it what it is, a complete
waste of time. something that's dragged on for entirely too long. it's been eight days we've been talking about this nonstory. the fact is professor gates has made it a nonstory simply because i'm watching this guy on tv a few days ago saying my door was locked and i tried to nudge it open. i'm saying to myself i have some legitimate questions about it from jump street. when i heard him say that i said wait a minute, you are not at home. you come back here from off the road. you have locked yourself out. you're trying to open your door and all it takes to open your door is a nudge? give me a break. you were trying to really push that door open. that's why you had your driver or whoever it was with you to help you do so. when you take that into account and listen to what sergeant controlly said, it could have been anything. it may have not been an issue about racial profiling. it may have been a complete misunderstanding. that's something professor gates has still yet to acknowledge. i find that utterly unfortunate.
>> do you want to answer that? >> i disagree with stephen. i don't think this is a complete nonstory. i think it's a very interesting story. one of the reasons i think it's so interesting is that this is one of these little episodes that make people talk about race or talk around race, whatever you want -- but this one, you know, there's no tragedy that we have to take into account. nobody got shot. nobody got hurt. the only -- all that was hurt were some feelings and some egos, and so in this sort of fault-free -- >> i disagree with that. >> -- environment -- well, i think that's true -- >> look, suppose they try to get something done. it seems odd to me what's going to happen, agathen again a lot things that happens in washington are odd, they won't talk about what happened. i'm with stephen completely. they won't talk about what happened. there's a critical moment in this whole kerfuffle. what are we going to call it?
lets gaet an irish name for it. donnybrook. it seems to me it started when the cop in uniform yelled into a guy's house, come out here, i want to talk to you. at that moment the guy's back of his hairs were up, wait a minute, it's my house. you want to make me leave my house. stephen, the way you read that story 1300 times, that's when te so-called profiling moment occurred. henry louis gates figures instinctively he wouldn't have done it to a white guy. did he it to me because i'm a black guy. he yelled it out. was that a profiling moment. he says it is. the cop says it isn't. >> i'm saying it may have been a profiling moment, but the point is it has devolved to less than that in the days that have followed where i disagree with eugene and i want to talk to him directly when i say this, i mean this respectfully, eugene,
you're older than me. you have experienced more than me, okay? you understand. you know, precivil rights days, et cetera, et cetera. there are a lot of things you've gone through in your lifetime. when we think about professor gates and what he alleged may have happened, the fact that it is devolved into something far less than that you have to consider the collateral ramifications. you have a lot of jewish people, italian people out there, the list goes on and on, that are looking at it saying wait a minute, this wasn't about racial profiling. it was made in something it was not. so -- >> okay. >> what's going to happen now? >> i don't know whether henry kissinger would have been told to come out of his. henry kissinger come out of your house, stand in the corner. >> stephen, i am older than you, it's true. i managed to kind of make my way to the studio here, but actually, see, i disagree with chris in that i don't think that was the key moment. the key moment was when skip
gates got arrested. okay. we'd established he was, you know, he was acting out. he was yelling at the cop. >> what would have happened if i'd have been yelling at the cop. i thought if you start yelling at the cop you get arrested for disorderly. >> the cop went there to see if somebody was robbing the house. nobody is robbing the house. he satisfies himself that skip gates is the guy who lives in the house. so what do you do at that point? what's good policing at that point? good policing at that point is, you know, thank you very much, sir, i hope you have a better day tomorrow than you're having today. you walk away. you don't slap the cuffs on him. i think that -- >> suppose i was in a bad mood, i just got back from china. i had to force my way into my house. the cop is yelling come out here. i'd say what? come out here. treats me like i'm a suspect. and my attitude is i don't like being treated like a suspect so i give some lip. >> yeah. >> would i get arrested?
>> you know -- >> you're saying i wouldn't. i don't know. >> i think after the cop satisfied himself that you weren't robbing the house -- >> i humiliated him by screaming at him outside -- >> i don't think he would have arrested you. >> there's a bigger issue, chris. what i'm saying, you're professor gates. you're an iconic figure instid the african-american community. an african-american scholar. you know the history, the trials and tribulations. you saw how this thing was spinning out of control. if you really want to send the right message why do you need to go to the rose garden in the back of the white house and have a beer with the president? how come you couldn't do that with sergeant crowley yourself? how come you couldn't handle it? >> now you're getting over the edge. if you got invited to the white house you'd be there tomorrow morning. >> that's true. but wait a minute, i'm not friends with the president. excuse me, i wouldn't have chosen this occasion to go to the white house if i were friends with the president. i could have picked another occasion.
i search would have avoided allowing this to escalate to a nonstory over the course of eight days over something that just wasn't the case. at the end of the day it wasn't racial profiling, was it? >> well, looked to me. let's go back to where we're going to end up tonight. we're having a new edition at 7:00. thank god we can talk about what happened. we're going to get a lot of talk about what happened. >> how many beers? >> we'll find out a lot by 7:00 tonight. i don't think this thing is going to go on. do we all agree? this has a life expectancy -- he's not staying for dinner. light hors d'oeuvres. we have them here on the set, all three beers. we have, let's see, a blue moon, that is the sergeant's preference. we have red stripe, which is the professor's. we have what the president thought -- we'll get into this late -- thought was an american beer. wrong. >> turns out not to be. >> been bought by a belgian
company. here the is the president talking late today about the beer he's going to have in less than an hour. >> i notice this has been called the beer summit. it's a clever term but this is not a summit, guys. this is three folks having a drink at the end of the day and hopefully giving people an opportunity to listen to each other. and that's really all it is. >> and here is a smart comment. the problem with teachable moments is that the term sets up one group of peoples a teachers while another group is consigned to the role of pupils. in a democracy that's troublesome. gene, who is going to learn, who is going to teach? the learner ain't -- >> it's a beer summit, nobody is going to learn, nobody is going to teach. there's not going to be any teaching or learning there, but what i think has happened over this eight days or whatever is there have been conversations about this incident. there have been conversations about race and racial profiling, whether this was or whether this
wasn't and how do police treat black people and do they treat them different from white people. those conversations are -- >> what will change? >> huh? >> what will change? >> we won't have valhalla tomorrow. >> will cops be less likely to say open your trunk, buddy. >> no, not necessarily, but -- >> will they be les likely to say come out of your house buddy? >> maybe people will have more of an awareness of the way blacks see a situation versus the way whites see a situation like this. >> i think i agree with you. i think this beer party will be good for the country. i think it's interesting. the whole world will be watching. we have our first african-american president hosting the party. thank you eugene and stephen. do republicans have the ammunition they need to defeat health care reform now that the democrats have inserted a
provision covering end of life consultation. this is red meat for the "r"s and the people on the radio. it's a hot topic. are the people in the health care reform business pushing end of death decisions ahead of time? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. the lowest price, some pharmacies make you work for it with memberships and fees. but not walmart. they have hundreds of generic prescriptions for just $4 for up to a 30-day supply and no gimmicks. save money. live better. walmart.
coming up, throughout his presidential campaign barack obama was hard to knock off message. what's happening now during his push for the health care reform? why is he losing the message more now? "hardball" returns after this. [ female announcer ] olay goes beyond everyday clean to a deep micro-clean. olay deep cleansers reach the micro-particles of dirt some basic cleansers can leave behind for a clean so deep its micro-clean. olay deep cleansers.
welcome back to "hardball." last week house republican leader, he's the top guy, john baper put out a statement that said that the house drafted health care legislation may start us down a treacherous path toward what he called government encouraged euthanasia if it's enacted into law. here is north carolina congresswoman virginia fox on the house floor just yesterday.
>> republicans have a better solution that won't put the government in charge of people's health care, that will make sure we bring down the cost of health care for all americans, and that ensures affordable access for all americans and is pro life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government. >> weill not put seniors into a position of being put to death by their government. that's a u.s. congresswoman from north carolina, a republican just yesterday warning us about this provision we'll talk about in the health care bill. if you don't think this is hot, here is the president getting hit with it this week in a town hall meeting in north carolina. >> i have been told there is a clause in there that everyone that's medicare age will be visited and told to decide how they wish to die. this bothers me greatly and i'd like for you to promise me that this is not in this bill. >> you know, i guarantee you,
first of all, we just don't have enough government workers to send to talk to everybody to find out how they want to die. i think that the only thing that may have been proposed in some of the bills, and i actually think this is a good thing, is that it makes it easier for people to fill out a living will. >> well, what's going on here? in a moment we'll talk to democratic congressman earl bloomen hauer. let me ask you about this question. according to the president, all this is is some money in the bill that pays for somebody that wants a consultation so they can write a living will. what's wrong with that? >> it's baloney because here is what they're doing. they're putting the government in the position to counsel you about how you should end your life. we've already seen it happen here in oregon. there's a woman by the name of barbara wagner who was told by the medicaid program called the
oregon health plan, we won't pay for your cancer treatment but we will pay for your so-called physician assistance in dying. in other words, your government says we won't save your life, but we will help you end your life. that's outrageous. the idea that this new 1,000-page bill includes buried in it language about having the government counsel older people on how they want to end their lives, chris, you ought to be very afraid of this. we're on our way to some really serious -- >> well, what about the idea of a person who wants a living will, who wants to provide that they don't want any extraordinary steps taken. you know, like an alzheimer's person. my mom died of it. it's a 15-year progression if you're lucky -- >> chris. >> really, what do you say to a person like that? >> because you can go online right now and get all kinds of documents to make your wishes clear. this is the government, the people who control the money, that eventually will control all of our health care if the democrats get their way, god help us, and they'll be saying to you, how would you like to
end your life knowing that the very people asking you that question are also -- also have billions of dollars at stake in the question. >> having read the bill, i assume you've read the provision in the bill. tell me how it would work physically. i just got a bad cancer diagnosis, for example, or i just found out i have alzheimer's or something. you say what would happen. >> what they're saying as i understand the language, and i have read it, too, you don't have to be a lawyer to read it. it says periodically people who are older will be counseled by their doctor -- >> at their request, right? at their request. >> there's the question. whether it will be at their request or whether or not the government will say he want you to do this with all -- >> how would the government do that? >> the government is signing the checks. >> would somebody walk in your room and say you're wasting government money or wasting medicare money, why don't you let us -- give hospice care to you. >> people who are older are going to walk into a doctor's office or a physician assistant
and they're going to sit down and along with all those other questions, how are you feeling? what's your blood pressure, et cetera, they're going to do a health history and say have you thought about the way you're going to pass out of the world. >> your position is they will affirmatively raise the topic of whether you want to waste this money, as they might put it, do you really want to be a burden on society, do you really want to go through all the mris when you're on the way out? we'll get you the right drugs and you can live in a hospice for a couple weeks. you're saying they will force that in your face? >> remember, they have a dog in the fight. they have billions of dollars at stake. and the doctor answers to the government who is writing the checks. >> thank you. lars, please come back on the show. we'll try to get those answers from the u.s. congressman. here is the democratic congressman. he put the language in the bill for the health care bill. by the way, what he put in there is an offer to get an explanation by a practitioner of advanced directives including living wills and durable powers
of attorneys. copman, thank you. lars larson says you're going to basically have professionals confront older people and tell them they're basically being a burden, their costs are running up too high, they should consider something besides the treatment they're getting. >> lars is either not telling the truth or he doesn't know how to read the bill. i posted it on my website and i encourage anybody to look at it. this is bipartisan legislation. my co-sponsor is a republican doctor, and it simply provides not a government bureaucrat, but alolows you when you pick your doctor if you're going to have this conversation, the government will pay for it. right now the government will pay to hook you up, put needles in you, tubes, do all sorts of things and tests, but it won't pay for a simple consultation about what a patient can look forward to when they're in this most critical stage. i had a friend of mine, a republican doctor surgeon who says he has these conversations all the time.
he doesn't want to have them at the last minute before people think about it. he thinks this is the way to go. so do i. so does the american association of retired people. what lars is talking about is absolutely bogus. >> what triggers this conversation, sir, in your bill? >> what triggers it is the same thing any other medical condition you have with your doctor that's paid for under medicare. >> do you bring up the subject of do you want a living will or does the -- >> it can go both ways. you pick your doctor under medicare. it's not somebody that the government assigns. it's been that way for 40 years. what happens if you've got a pain in your neck or your doctor sees something that is wrong with your eyes or is talking to you -- it's the same thing. what's different is that for the first time the federal government will actually pay people to be able to have this
conversation and hopefully it will raise the profile. you know, the only mandatory provision that dealt with end of life was introduced by a republican in the senate that would have required medicare people to have to fill this out before they get medicare. that's not in our bill, and i'm really embarrassed -- >> congressman, here is the imagery they're working on, the critics of this. they're saying you're going to be confronted with this dekeynesian frightening figure that will -- >> your doctor. this is your doctor. >> they're going to say to you, you're a burden on society. this is going to cost a lot of money, this treatment, maybe you want to go to a hospice and save a lot of people a lot of money. that's what he's saying. are you saying you won't be confronted with that choice? >> i'm saying that this gentleman and others like him have no idea how medicare works. you pick your medicare doctor. it's somebody that you are comfortable with, and they are
professionally obligated to work with you. it's bogus to say that somehow your doctor is all of a sudden going to want to do something to you that is against your interests, your health, and your family. that's outrageous. >> we talked this afternoon, congressman. let's talk about terri schiavo. under your plan she obviously got into a position of being in a vegetable state. we can argue about the brain waves and everything else. a terrible situation. her husband made the destoution end the extraordinary steps to keep her alive. the parents disagreed. we went through that whole thing. how would your bill avoid those kind of situations where you can't tell what the patient wants? >> well, it would attempt to make sure that more people are not in the situation of teri shay vo. if terri schiavo had this conversation with her family and her doctor before this incident occurred and had executed a document or the doctor actually knew, we wouldn't have had 17
judges intervening and we wouldn't have made a national spectacle out of that family. that's why i have these provisions. i assume that you do. maybe even lars larson does. voluntary. >> there's no -- nobody is pressuring you to make these decisions. you're saying that. >> it's voluntary. it's your doctor, and i invite anybody to look at my website and look at the actual language. >> thank you very much for coming on the show. u.s. congressman earl blumenauer. the things sarah palin says sometimes leave you kind of bewildered maybe because you haven't heard them put to verse. wait until you hear -- bill shatner is going to do it for us. he's going to give us the poetic version of the words of sarah palin. it's pretty funny, and it's not derogatory. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. - girls: yeah! - announcer: welcome to the now network.
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back to "hardball." time for the "sideshow." first up, palin in verse. if you've ever heard sarah palin's twitter page, you know her online messages seem to be, well, let's say, stream of consciousness. well, bill shatner, my hero from captain kirk days and now from priceline last night put the ex-governor's tweets to rhythm. here he is on "the tonight show" reading sarah palin's twitters verbatim, but also in verse. >> from sea life near lush wet rainforests to energy housed under frozen tundra atop permafrost, god shows his diversity in alaska. tourists from across america,
here loving their 49th state i'm reminded one heart, one hope, one destiny, one flag from sea to sea. awesome alaska night, sensing summer already winding down with fire weed near full globloom, finally sitting down to pen listening to big and rich. >> listening to big and rich. talk about a trouper, bill shatner. i never thought of bongo drums making the alaskan sound. a sugar plum from last night's focus group. a group of 12 independent voters were asked what political couple they would most like to invite along on a vacation. out of the obamas, the clintons, the mccains, and the palins. this may surprise you a little bit. the clintons with six votes. half the people said they'd rather be with the clintons.
the obamas came in second followed by the palins and then the mccains. the real draw apparently was not hillary clinton so much as bill clinton. quote, this is one of the guys said, i want to have fun. bill is a party guy. 6 out of 12 say they'd rather vacation with the clintons. tonight's "big number." up next, what happened to the obama message machine? the president's polls are slipping and more americans disapprove of his way of handling health care reform. for a guy who was so hard to knock off course last year, what's going on right now? we're going to ask a pair of top-notch message crafters, dee dee meyers and tony blankly, what's going on with the president. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ female announcer ] introducing the latest
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stocks rallied on solid corporate earnings. the dow jones industrials added 83 points. the s&p 500 gained over 11 points, and the nasdaq is up 16.5 points. the number of workers filing new jobless claims rose slyly more than expected last week. the number of continuing claims fell to its lowest level in three months. the four-week average fell to its lowest level since january. the report helped send oil prices more than 5% higher on the day. oil settled at $66.63. earns posted just after the bell showed disney falling just short of analysts' projections on revenue. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball."
well, we're getting serious now. welcome to "hardball." why is president obama having such a hard time selling health care? he is having a hard time. less than a year ago he beat the clintons and beat the gop noise man, if you will. so what's the problem? he took on everybody out there, beat everybody in the message department. here is part of what president obama told "time" magazine. quote, this has been the most difficult toaest for me so far public life. the case is so clear to me. you say to yourself this shouldn't be such a hard case to make. dee dee myers is here. tony blanklay is top spokesman and a columnist for the "washington times." you guys are pros. he seems to be tongue-tied. here is president obama yesterday in frying to answer a question about health care. he's just having a problem. >> nobody is talking about some government takeover of health care. i'm tired of hearing that.
i have been as clear as i can be. under the reform i have proposed, if you like your doctor, you keep your doctor, if you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan. these folks need to stop scaring everybody, you know? nobody, nobody is talking about you forcing to have to change your plans. >> tony, what's the problem? >> well, first of all, whatever you or i think about what he was just saying, it's not working. it's not persuading. the white house, his people have sent him out every day to deliver a message that only about 40% of the public approves. >> 41 percent. your point is well made. >> and i don't know why they send him out with the same message that's not working every day. not only do they depreciate the value of the presidential statement, but they're branding him deeply with a message that they know is not appealing.
they need to figure out a different message. >> we're looking at the nbc poll. you nailed it pretty much. 41% according to the nbc/"wall street journal" poll. basically he won the argument among people who don't have health insurance. you're going, yeah, of course. but most people have it. >> right. >> and most people who vote have it, and he's got to get voters who talk to congress people. where are the demonstrations for health care in the streets of this city? when we have civil rates, there are demonstrators. gay rights arguments, demonstrators. handicap rights, there are demonstrates. where is the noise for this. >> you have several fundamental problems. there's a real problem in the health care system. every economist, anyone who studies it agrees if we don't do something to bend the curve of costs we're going to bankrupt ourselves. it's not a problem that's going to happen tomorrow and i'm not going to lose my health coverage next week most likely. how do you convince pesm to make changes that are a little uncertain when the rubber
doesn't hit the road for a long time. the second problem is this is so complex that it's into the void of details as this policy process unfolds. goes a lot of misinformation. you won't be able to keep your doctor. as you were just discussing in earlier segment, they will ask senior you how to die. one congresswoman said they will euthanize seniors. into the vouz. >> i have seen politicians use this issue effectively in bad times. >> but only in a political sense. when you get to the policy phase. >> rather in pennsylvania in '91, if a criminal has a right to a doctor the working american has -- >> that's a campaign. that was politics and not policy. the minute you get into policy everything changes. >> the problem is he's got the same problem that bush had in 2005 with social security. he didn't -- he wasn't specific about what he wanted. so the opposition can point out every possible bogeyman, this might happen, this might happen. he has to defend against it. even those things that might not be in his package. he was too general too long.
the other part of the problem was that the fundamental things he's been promising for three years, during the campaign and first six months of his administration, cbo won't score the way he wants it. so either his commitment or his program has got to shift and he's still trying to get everything that he promised done but he can't get the program to make it work. so he's losing credibility when he repeats stuff. cbo said it won't happen. >> what i was struck by is he had an hour press conference time last week and never made a sales pitch. in that whole hour i heard a lot of dancing and conniving and cleverness and avoidance, but i didn't hear him say this is why we need health care insurance and i remembered it. it didn't happen. >> i think tony, that goes back to tony's point, which is he wasn't specific enough. in a way they overlearned the clinton lesson. we put together a 1300 and some odd page bill and said here it is folks. that was clearly not a way that was going to get it done. they took the opposite tact.
even in the gmedemocrat party, there's no consensus on public opths or no public option. >> does he need a really good sermon? i was thinking today if you're on the titanic and there are 21300 passengers and only 1,000 life boats you don't like being on that boat even though you might get one of the 1,000 life jackets. you don't like it. you don't like it. maybe the american people know there are only so many lifeboat seats and there ought to be enough for everybody and we although to have health care for everybody that's good for everybody. he hasn't solved that case, has he? if it's good for everybody, everybody has a chance. >> americans are generous people but they don't want to give a lot of what they have for somebody else. >> what are they asking to give, tas money, rationing? >> the fear is they may get -- if you're in medicare, less services than you currently get because they'll reduce by $300 billion medicare. there may be less choice. all the things that may happen.
nobody wants to give that stuff up. if you say $10 a month to help people, maybe yeah. reduce the quality of my family's health care, probably not. >> are they afraid, and this may be a bogeyman as you have used the word, that they're afraid that they need a new lung or they need a liver in 20 years, and they drank too much or they're too old or not on the protocol list and need some influence downtown to get it, and they know some pol who is a democrat downtown has the clout to get it for them. this is about politics. politicians are going to get their fingers into this thing and they're probably right. >> i don't know if that's as wide -- >> you know how political influence works. >> there's the idea it's going to turn out like canada which means you get on the list and wait 17 years if you're still alive for your liver. >> most letters to congress are they didn't get the benefits.
>> part of his problem is the reason he says we have to do health care this year is because he said we can't solve our economy until he solves health kafer. cbo won't score that. why should we be doing that instead of working on the economy? why are we adding to the deficit? >> selling point, i think it's a good selling point. tell me if it would work. like you have to have driver's insurance to get in a car. every state requires i think you have to have insurance. why don't we say since everybody if they do get in trouble they're going to be treated by a hospital anyway, that everybody should have to have an insurance policy if you can afford it. >> in driving i might smash into you. in sickness i'm not affecting you. >> but you are affecting -- i think that's exactly what obama is trying to do which is to say if you bring everyone into the pool, including younger healthy people, then you lower the overall cost for everybody because you have more people paying in lesser amounts but covering everybody, and then you avoid those high costs of
emergency room medicine which is one of the things -- people waiting and waiting because they don't have insurance. >> isn't it true we -- >> we should change that policy -- >> we could change the policy by saying no to them. >> the problem is you can have all these high-minded thoughts. trying to sell any electorate on sacrifice for the common good is a tough sell. >> i know who learned that lesson. jimmy carter. thank you. >> tough to say put on a sweater and lower the thermostat. thank you dee dee myers. you're dee dee. >> and you're not. >> up next, today's beer summit at the white house. will it help president obama politically. will it put an end to this week of bad press? will this make him more of a budinski or less of one? (announcer) before they give you the lowest price,
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gillette. the best a man can get. recently professor henry louis gates jr. was arrested at his home in cambridge. what does that incident say to you and what does it say about race relations in america? >> time for "the politics fix." the question from lynn sweet set in motion a series of events that results in tonight's beer summit. there she is, the one that started it all and now we have roger simon here, chief political columnist from politico. lynn, let me ask you about this.
are you glad you started this? >> well, i'm neither -- i have no emotion one know, president obama -- i don't want to go -- i don't want to become part of the story here any more than i am. president obama today, when he talked to reporters, said he had a fascination with the fascination with it, and i think that's kind of how i am on this, chris and roger. i am fascinated with how this whole thing developed from what, in a sense, was a question the white house expected on a big story in the news. >> roger, are you fascinated or not? i think it gets to the san andreas fault in life, which is race, and we're having two guys meet. >> it's fascinating, because i'm fascinated by presidential stagecraft, but it's not an accident this is happening. >> sergeant crowley said, let's do it. >> we now learned, i hope we can all have a beer someday.
first of all, it was the president of the united states who revealed that conversation, and then like the next day, 48 hours later, the white house suddenly says, they're all coming over here and we're having a beer. this doesn't happen by accident. like all pieces of stagecraft, it's designed to sell an image and message. the message is strong president solves problems and the message is racial harmony. even though it's three guys sitting around a picnic table, it's a very important moment for the white house. >> you know, it looks like he's going to try to have one of these middle east pictures with the guy on either side, the arab on one side, the israeli on the other. he's setting himself up as the summit eeh. >> and that's rahm emanuel. >> yasser arafat -- >> and was it.
>> on the south lawn of the white house. >> but this will put him away from taking sides with the professor, as he did in that press conference with you, lynn, where he made the mistake, a lot of people think, of taking sides to reposition himself as the mediator? >> absolutely. i mean, i don't think taking sides was his problem in the answer, because if you're a friend, i think people appreciate loyalty in politics and in friendship. i think the use of the word "stupidly" was what escalated the situation. he could have been friends with his friend professor gates and still left open about he admitted at the time he didn't know all the facts, so that was one word that ignited it. i think it more in term of reconciliation and the teachable moment. and people want to be able to have a second shot at making things right with relationships. >> i'm with you on that. human relations. what about this, roger?
will this help him with the far right who keep bringing up the nativist thing, he's not one of us? >> no, nothing will help him with that. that's nutso america. >> they're very angry. >> let them be angry. >> glenn beck taking that shot yesterday. >> some of them still don't believe we landed on the moon. some of these people on the subject of race are unpersuadables, some of them -- >> did you hear rush -- i'm sorry, i don't want to push rush too hard, but lynn, he's out there saying that barack obama is obsessed with being black in a white world, that he and his wife are, that they're secretly anti-white -- not secretly, openly, and it's the same thing as beck, doing this competition now, duelling banjos who can be the more virulent for barack obama being tribalist. your thoughts? >> my thought is i think they go down this path, which i think gets them ratings and hits on
blogs at their own peril, because at the end of the day, they have to show there's something there, and they need to bring facts out in the conversation, and they have an absurd premise, it's like the birther movement here. there's no evidence to show that president obama wasn't born in the united states, and how do you prove something that did not happen? well, in this case, there is proof. so i think this rhetoric -- this racially charged rhetoric at this time has nowhere to go soon. >> let's get back to a lighter moment. who people would like to hang out with. lynn and roger, come back in a minute. at 155 miles per hour, andy roddick
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